You can take steps to protect your natural gas and electrical appliances during a flood. However, please follow the directions of local authorities and don’t put your safety at risk. If there is an immediate danger or water is already entering your building, just focus on getting out safely.
Important: if you choose to do any excavating or trenching on your property to help protect it from floods, contact BC 1 Call at bc1c.ca or 1-800-474-6886 beforehand to get location details of natural gas lines and other underground utilities.
Learn how to prepare your home for a flood
Watch this video to learn how to protect natural gas appliances before flooding occurs, whether you have time to prepare or have to evacuate. Plus, find out how to stay safe after you’ve returned home.
Protect your appliances before a flood
If you have time to prepare for a flood
- Locate the shut-offs for the electrical panel for your home, and know how to safely shut it off if your area will be flooded.
- Unplug electrical devices from their sockets and, if possible, move appliances out of the potential flood path.
- If you plan to move or remove any natural gas appliances, such as hot water tanks, clothes dryers, ranges etc., contact a licensed gas contractor. You can find one using our online directory
- Ensure that the contractor safely shuts off the gas supply before moving any appliances and have them cap and seal the gas pipe leading to the appliance shutoff valve. This helps prevent the back flow of flood water into the gas piping system.
If you have to evacuate immediately
If you don’t have a lot of time to get out of your home, or a contractor is not available, here are some things you can do to protect your appliances:
- Shut off the gas supply valve to each appliance (usually found on the gas line to the appliance) by turning it crosswise to the pipe.
- Do not drain your hot water tank – just shut off the water leading to and from the tank.
- Avoid electrical lines when evacuating and do not go into basements or low-lying structures where both water and electricity may be in contact.
- You do not need to shut off the gas at the meter. If fire or emergency officials request it or there is an immediate threat to our infrastructure, we will turn off natural gas service, and visit your home to restore service at the meter after it’s safe to return.
Making sure it’s safe after returning home
When local authorities have advised that it’s safe to do so, you may return home. But be aware of hazards that may be left behind after the flood:
- Flood water may have shifted your home or caused stresses to the gas piping and electrical wiring. For your safety, have a licensed gas contractor inspect your piping and appliances for damage—don’t try to repair or relight them yourself.
- If water levels were high enough to cover your gas meter or it was necessary to turn off your natural gas due to flooding, a FortisBC technician will need to inspect the meter and regulator before turning the gas back on and relighting any appliances. For relights, call 1-877-711-8877.
- Wet electrical wiring is very dangerous. Any loose wires should be treated as live, and avoided. Have any wiring that has been partially or fully covered by flood water checked by a licensed electrician or electrical contractor.
- If you still see water in your building, do not attempt to shut off the main power switch. Avoid any electrical lines or basements and other low-lying structures where electricity and water may be present.
Click or call before you dig
- Flood waters can shift the surface of earth and either expose or reduce the amount of dirt covering natural gas lines. If you discover an exposed gas line, don’t try to repair it. Call the FortisBC emergency line immediately at 1-800-663-9911 (24 hours).
- If you’re removing debris or digging for any reason during or after a flood, click or call BC 1 Call first at 1-800-474-6886 to find out where gas lines and buried utilities are.
- Let the agent know you have been impacted by a flood and FortisBC will prioritize your request and email your natural gas line location information immediately.
- If you do not have access to email, let BC 1 Call know and they will ensure FortisBC calls you to provide natural gas line location information over the phone.
If you smell rotten eggs or sulphur or hear the sound of escaping gas, don’t enter the building. Go outside and call the FortisBC Emergency Line at 1-800-663-9911 (24 hours) or 911.
Who to call to restore your appliances
Call a licensed gas contractor
Don’t try to put natural gas appliances back in service yourself. For your safety, do not use any gas appliances that have been flooded until a licensed gas contractor inspects them.
A licensed gas contractor will check, clean, repair and pressure-test all gas pipes that have been clogged with mud or debris. They will also check switches, controls, thermostats, furnace heat exchangers, burner and pilot parts and rusting metal parts for damage. It may be less expensive to buy a new appliance than restore damaged ones to safe operating condition.
Find a licensed gas contractor near you using our online directory.
Call an electrician
Flood water may have stressed electrical wiring, and water makes a dangerous combination with any loose wires. Have any wiring that has been partially or fully covered by flood water checked by a licensed electrician or electrical contractor.
If your buildings or other structures were damaged by flooding, please note that we require an affidavit signed by a licensed electrician before we can safely restore service to your premises. See Technical Safety BC's protocol on service restoration for more information.
When to call FortisBC
- If water levels were high enough to cover either your gas meter or electricity meter, call FortisBC to check your meter(s) before using any of your equipment.
- If it was necessary to turn off your natural gas due to flooding, you may find a red “outage” tag on the gas meter or your doorknob. A FortisBC technician will need to inspect the meter and regulator before turning the gas back on and relighting any appliances. Call the number on the tag or 1-877-711-8877.
Learn more about preparing for floods and staying safe
- Download our Flood preparedness fact sheet.
- Visit Prepared BC’s "Get prepared for a flood in British Columbia"
- Get more tips from Technical Safety BC on staying safe and restoring service after a flood.